Addressing the need for soil blends and amendments for the highly modified urban landscape

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Soil Science Society of America Journal


Applications of soil science will become increasingly important in urban ecosystems with anticipated population growth. Our overall objective was to address the issues involved in urban soil research. Specifically, the objectives were (i) to highlight past and current urban soil science research, (ii) to identity the need for special soil amendments and soil blends for urban landscape projects, and (iii) to encourage more soil scientists to address the research needs of rapidly expanding urban landscapes. Much of the early research with urban soils focused on identification and classification of anthropogenic influences. Those activities continue to be important, but there is an opportunity and need for soil scientists to expand their research activities into the area of highly modified and manufactured soils. Soil management in urban settings differs from natural and agricultural settings because the land units are smaller and the availability of soil amendments is much greater, thus the degree of modification is more intense. Organic and inorganic materials are abundantly used in urban landscapes as direct soil amendments or as ingredients in manufactured soils. These amendments can have a significant potential impact on soil and water resources in the urban environment. Soil scientists can make important contributions to urban soil science by developing good urban soil management practices, by evaluating the benefits and risks associated with soil amendments, and by developing soil blends for specialized urban applications such as parks, sports fields, plazas, and green roofs. The progression from a rural to an urban population effectively creates a variety of opportunities for soil scientists to conduct research, extension, and teaching activities with an ever-increasing urban focus. © Soil Science Society of America.

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